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WWYD regarding stepkids maintenance?(10 Posts)
Asking on behalf of DH as we have never heard of anyone in this situation before. To summarise:
DSS 17 is the eldest stepchild and he dropped out of college a year ago and began a waged apprenticeship in September, on £150 per week.
DH has been paying through CSA, always has.
There's been a letter from the CSA saying the case is closing and a new case can be opened via the CMS. DH has phoned them and they cannot open a case for eldest DSS as he is earning and therefore doesn't qualify for CMS (it's an apprenticeship with a contract of employment).
DH phoned the old CSA to ask if his ex had reported any changes in circumstances. They said she was still claiming Child benefit for DSS but they would write to her to confirm. Ex has written back and said that DSS is 'in between college courses at the moment'. No mention of his apprenticeship or wages. The CSA said they can't act any further and DH would have to report his ex to HMRC if he wants to get to the bottom of it.
Now, that really isn't going to go down well with anybody so he'd rather not do that! DH wrote to his ex and said that he can set up a CMS case for the younger DC, and he will pay the difference (£15 per week) into DSS1's account directly to help with travel costs. So DH would happily still be paying the same. He also offered to set up an entirely new private arrangement (CMS are pushing for this in all cases).
There was no reply to the letter. DSS said she put it straight in the bin. So DH explained the contents to DSS and the difficulties faced in setting this new case up.
DSS said "well you can't pay £15 a week into my account as I haven't got one"
DH asked how he gets his wages then?
He said "my wages get paid into mum's account" but didn't seem to know why.
Now, DH's ex is single and receiving tax credits etc, surely having her son's wages paid into her account is going to look dodgy? Does anyone know why someone would choose to do this?
She definitely seems to be lying about him being in between courses. He has no intention of returning to college and is really enjoying his earnings.
A) set up a CMS case based on all kids, saying that DSS1 is going to college when it's not true? (Don't like the idea of lies!)
B) ask HMRC to get to the bottom of it and start a huge showdown (probably will damage contact arrangements with kids).
Just to make sure that everyone's aware, the difference in CSA amounts is only £15 a week which DH is happy to keep paying one way or another, it's just he wants it to be set up as per the rules.
Don't really know much about this but didn't want to read and run. Set up a new account in other children's names (not private as ex seems a bit weird) get dss to open his own account (support as necessary) and pay in the £15 direct to him. If ex has a problem she will have to lie about him being employed. Also try and get dss to change his wages into his own account (paying board to his mum from there if needed).
I wouldn't lie. Does DSS have any tax/NI paperwork? My apprenticeship was years ago and only 3 days a week (plus 2 at college), but I got all the tax/NI paperwork, it just showed that I didn't earn enough to pay it. If he has the same, it won't take them long to realise that he's earning, even if it's not enough to pay (I'm not sure what the limit is at the moment).
I'd second opening an account for DSS, paying into that and possibly withdrawing it and giving him the cash if he wants? Otherwise DSS' account might become ex's account (my mum did this).
Ex will be found out, and it won't be pretty.
Could you pay it onto a prepaid debit card for him? I use these for kids pocket money and they link to an app on my phone so I can top them up each month and add Christmas / birthday money. He can draw cash, use in shops and on the Internet. Not sure about direct debits.
Thanks, younger stepkids have bank accounts and DSS1 used to have one but it's been closed. DH told him to open a new one ASAP, as he'll be 18 soon and surely wants and needs his own debit card! DSS1 said, no it's fine I don't mind my wages going into mum's!
It doesn't sound right to me!
I've just read your replies out to DH, and with regards to the apprenticeship NI paperwork he has reminded me that the business owner providing the apprenticeship is a close friend of the ex. Starting to wonder if there's even a genuine apprenticeship at all or a dodgy cash in hand set up.
Thanks for the idea of the pre-paid card. That's a great idea.
My kids have Osper cards, all done via iPhone app. I'm sure there are others
A pre paid debit card is ideal for a short term solution but I think your DH really needs to "encourage" his son to get his own bank account, and assist him (take him to the bank) if possible. Does he know why the old account was closed?
I wouldn't recommend reporting the mother for benefit fraud. Purely because it could derail his relationship with his kids in the future.
If the wage is getting paid cash in hand your DH can just play dumb and convince his son to get an account for other reasons, ie so he can pay him his allowance into it, and that now he's getting older not having an account can cause problems in life.
If it's dodgy then your DH needs to find out or DSS could be in trouble.
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